Cr pic: Kristen Sturdivant

Jamaican local life

Sweet, sweet Jamaica, nah lef yah!

Welcome to my country, Jamaica, where we are small in size but we are strong and proud. As we Jamaicans love to say, “We likkle but we tallawah.”

Reggae icon Robert Nesta "Bob" Marley

Many of you were introduced to us through the music of Reggae icon Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley. He carefully crafted his art in a way that connected with his audiences, no matter who they are. Many called him a prophet because of the way he successfully brought light to major concerns that were affecting not only the Jamaican people, but also others worldwide.

To learn more about this Jamaican icon, you can visit the Bob Marley Museum as well as Tuff Gong Studio where they reproduce Bob’s music for your enjoyment and entertainment.

We also have several persons who were greatly inspired by this Reggae icon. To name a few, there is Orville “Shaggy” Burrell, Mr. Boombastic, who is currently (2018) on tour with Sting promoting their album 44/876. Beresford “Beres” Hammond, Jimmy Cliff, Taurus Riley and Chronixx are some others whose music get me; and rounding out this category is our lovely songbird Tessanne Chin, the winner of The Voice Season 5. Tessanne just completed providing vocals for her brother-in-law, fellow reggae artiste Wayne Marshall’s newest hit ‘Glory to God’.

Sports

Now, I’m not a sports fan but in Jamaica, sports is a major thing that everyone looks forward to, at some point. No matter how old you are, how young, even if you’re young at heart, once there is a Jamaican participating, we are glued to the television set cheering our favourite athlete, country or team. Whether it is FIFA World Cup, Diamond League, ISSA School Championship; you name it, we’re cheering with pots and pans banging in celebration at the victory, or a heated debate over the calls of the referee. Sports is the great uniter of the Jamaican people, especially at the Olympics. During this time, religiously, every part of the island has a television set out; stores, bars, media companies, even vendors. Traffic is slowed to a crawl or even standing still while everyone cheers in support of our athletes. Noisemakers, pot covers being banged, drums being beaten, people screaming on top of their voices, just a united people enjoying the revelry that sports bring. This was displayed more than ever in the 2008 Beijing Olympics when Jamaica showed that we were a force to be reckoned with. It was then that the fastest man and woman alive, The Hon. Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce blew the world away with their record breaking speed in the 100m.

Sundays: breakfast, church and music

It was a joy coming home from church on a Sunday afternoon and hearing some of the songs of yesteryear being played from homes, bars, and community cookouts. Soulful oldies I like to call them as these were written and recorded before I was even thought of. Songs from The Temptations, Percy Sledge, King Yellowman, whatever the genre, coming home from church (and Jamaica has record for the most churches per square mile mind you), I would get caught up singing and bouncing to, doing a jig, snapping a finger or tapping my foot to the music. Sunday was the day that my dad would take out his vinyl records out and play oldies but goodies: Island In The Stream by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, My Girl by The Temptations, El Passo by Marty Robbins...good times!

 

I don’t know why but Sunday breakfasts are the best. One can look forward to our National dish, ackee and saltfish usually served with ground provisions and avocado and plantains (when in season). This is considered a real man’s breakfast, so Sunday morning breakfasts are really special. Then comes Sunday dinner: rice and peas and the meat of your choice, a side of salad with blended juice. Jamaican women thrive to take care of their men so since they don’t (typically) work on that day they spend the time preparing everything from scratch. A Sunday favourite is steam fish with okra.

Nature

Boasting (14) parishes, Jamaica is home to luscious flora and fauna, natural waterfalls, white and black sand beaches and a plethora of activities that anyone can enjoy. My favourite parish to visit is Portland. Whenever I’m there I’m the best version of myself. The serenity, the nature, the beauty of it all makes it my happy place. I completely forget about my stresses and I’m at peace and one with nature. While there are many hideaways that cater to the rejuvenation of the body, mind and soul, the one that captivated me is Seaview Villas. The view of the sunset is breathtaking!

Activities

There is not much nightlife in Portland, and that is okay with me, however, you can go for a stroll in the capital, at the Port Antonio Marina, go rafting on the Rio Grande or swimming in the Blue Lagoon, climb the falls at Reach Falls or Somerset Falls, eat jerk pork/chicken at Boston Bay or just hang out and play dominoes with the locals. On the other hand, there are nightlife activities in Jamaica’s capital, Kingston, the North Coast and the South Coast.

Jamaica is a beautiful country with warm, friendly people

Cr. pic Lakeisha Bennett

Jamaica is a beautiful country with warm, friendly people, luscious trees and a captivating nightlife. You can come relax, unwind and live life on ‘island time’. You can climb Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios, cliff diving at Rick’s Cafe in Negril, visit Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville in Montego Bay, or even stay at the former home of renowned author and creator of James Bond, Ian Flemming’s GoldenEye Resort in Oracabessa or cruise the Black River and see tropical birds, mangroves in their natural habitat and maybe even a crocodile or two on the Black River Safari in St. Elizabeth. Whatever the reason is for your visit, you will leave here feeling like you have left your home away from home.

Written by Tika from Jamaica

 

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